Board of Directors Election - Discussion and Important Issues
[reposted from RSD]
Disclaimer: I am running for an At-Large position on the USAU Board of Directors.
With the end of the election approaching, I wanted to give a few words to help frame the decision-making process for electing a candidate. My goal is helping voters make informed, intelligent decisions (disclaimer I think this serves my campaign interests). Or you can just vote for your friends or whoever promised to get new vending machines in the lunch room. But with various endorsements and self-promotional statements out there, I want to help cut to the chase.
In the past several years, the Board and the organization have accomplished a lot. Youth growth, hiring a new and energetic CEO, rebranding, and plenty more. Current Board members can speak to their own awesomeness and the awesomeness of their colleagues in the context of these achievements. Good job, and give credit where credit is due.
With that in mind, I ask myself three questions in deciding how to vote:
1) What is the Board/organization doing that I like, and how likely is this candidate to help the organization continue doing these things?
2) What is the Board/organization doing that I don't like, and how has this candidate had a positive or negative impact with respect to these issues.
3) What is this candidate going to do to address these unresolved issues?
For me, I'm happy with a lot that the Board has done, but I am very concerned about a few unresolved issues that I consider extremely important. For this reason, "I've done a great job and I'll continue to do more of the same" is not a compelling campaign for an incumbent trying to get my vote. "I've done a great job, here's why I haven't addressed your issues, and here's how I'm going to represent you in the future" would be way better. I think several candidates offer to address many of the issues below.
In my opinion, the top 3 unresolved issues for the Board are:
1) Serve the Membership Well to Attract New Members and Get More Money.
95% of the membership does not advance beyond Sectionals or Regionals. USAU should make it a priority to ensure that these events are very high quality make it the best tournament experience of these teams' seasons. Instead, we have Sectionals played on unlined fields of (often) mediocre quality, run by a volunteer who is often also playing in the event. Regionals is often held in inconvenient, expensive locations, also often on fields of questionable quality.
This has been going on for a decade. It is unsurprising that tens of thousands of players play in leagues, but refuse to join USAU (seeing no value in it). At the same time USAU (and staff) always complain about having limited resources. Why has this not already been addressed years ago? "Restructuring will provide a variety of other low-quality events in an attempt to serve players at more levels" is not a satisfactory answer here. Too late, and not good enough.
2) Communication Board Representatives Should REPRESENT
I want to know how my Board representatives are serving my interests. And I want them to make an attempt to understand what my interests are. A good start would be posting on the Board Blog (or a personal blog established to serve their constituency) or a message board announcing accomplishments or seeking input on important upcoming issues. I stay pretty in touch with what's going on, and I am aware of very little of this activity from the Board, with a few notable exceptions. Bottom line: If you're a current At-Large representative and I have no idea who you are, let's just say that I'm displeased.
3) Taking Initiative
I want my Board representative to be very active in pushing the sport and the organization forward, identifying issues and proposing ways to resolve them. This may be through proposals to the Board (or to staff) or informally with staff. But I want it to happen, and as a constituent, I want to hear about it. Brag about yourself. Tell me, "I just spoke with the USAU Championship Committee, and they have agreed to make sure we are NOT in line with WFDF in terms of setting up fields dangerously close to light poles that people will collide with."
Credit is due to a few past/current Board members stand out in terms of independent proposals which have reached the Board since 2004: John Terry (3 in 3 meetings!), Peri Kurshan (4), Henry Thorne (3), Mike Payne (2), Kyle Weisbrod as staff and on the board with a bunch of proposals.
I'll be very disappointed if we elect candidates who do not resolve these three issues. That is priority #1. This goes across all candidates for all positions. I hope that voters agree these issues are important. If so, please vote for whomever you think can get them resolved. If you're right, I'll be very pleased with whomever is chosen. Thanks for reading, and please get involved and cast your vote: